Choice Privileges Hotel Reward Program – A Review

We are all familiar with travel rewards credit cards, but there are also reward programs offered by hotels themselves. If you are going to have to stay in a hotel, why not earn rewards for doing so?  Recently I joined Choice Privileges.

Where Points Are Earned

Choice Privileges rewards are accrued at 10 points per dollar spent at Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Ascend Collection and Cambria Suites hotel.  Choice Privileges are accrued at 5 points per dollar spent at MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn hotels.

Qualifying hotels are found in the U.S. including Hawaii, Canada, Caribbean/Mexico, Central/South America, Europe, Asia & Pacific.

Signing up for Choice Privileges can be done in less than five minutes.  You are required to give basic information such as your name, address, and e-mail address.  You can optionally give more information such as your birthday, phone number and credit card information.

Levels of Membership

If you frequently travel, you could qualify for one of the Elite membership levels: Gold, Platinum and Diamond.

-Gold membership is earned after you have spent 10 nights at qualifying hotels within one calendar year.  For each dollar spent, you earn  10% bonus points, can book your reservations up to 40 days in advance for reward nights and are eligible for Elite member offers, in addition to other perks.

-Platinum membership is earned after 25 nights spent at qualifying hotels within one calendar year.  For each dollar spent, you earn 25% bonus points, can book your reservations up to 60 days in advance for reward nights and are eligible for Elite member offers, in addition to other perks.

-Diamond membership is earned after 40 nights spent at qualifying hotels within one calendar year.  For each dollar spent, you earn 40% bonus points, can book your reservations up to 90 days in advance for reward nights and are eligible for Elite member offers, complimentary room upgrade and 24/7 travel concierge service worldwide, in addition to other perks.

Additional Ways to Earn Points

In addition to hotel stays, you can earn points a variety of other ways, including the following:

-Use the Choice Privileges Visa Platinum card and earn 15 points per dollar spent at qualifying hotels.  In addition, earn 8,000 points after making initial purchase.

-Refer a friend and receive 500 bonus points after the friend completes their first stay.

-Book a car rental through avis.com/choiceprivileges or budget.com/choiceprivileges and earn 1,000 points for each completed rental


-Shop at Choice Privileges Mall online and earn anywhere from 4 points per dollar spent at Babies R Us to as many as 20 points per dollar spent at Heels.com.

-Activate your satellite or sign up for wireless phone service through major providers such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Dish Network among others and earn 5,000 points.

Ways to Redeem Points

-Reward nights at qualifying hotels range from 6,000 to 8,000 points for less upscale hotels to 10,000 to 40,000 for more upscale hotels.  (Reward nights at Hawaii properties are 25,000 to 35,000 points.)

-Rewards for 1,000 to 5,000 airline miles are 5,000 to 30,000 points.  (Choice Privileges partners with American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta Skymiles, Southwest.com Rapid Rewards, United Mileage Plus, and U.S. Airways Dividend Miles, among others)

Tale a look at some of The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards.

-Gift cards.  Earn a $50 gift card to popular chain restaurants such as Darden restaurants, Chili’s, Applebee’s etc. for 16,000 points.  Similarly, you can earn a $50 gas card for 16,000 points.

-Rewards for 5,000 to 10,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points are 32,000 to 64,000 Choice Privilege points.

A business person who travels frequently could earn quite a few points quickly with this program. A family travelling for one week a year may have a more difficult time earning enough points to redeem for a worthwhile reward unless they are staying at a fairly expensive hotel.  All points must be redeemed by December 31 of the second calendar year after they were earned, so if you earned points on April 8, 2011, you must redeem them by December 31, 2012.

Have you joined hotel reward programs before?  What did you redeem the rewards for?

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Published or updated August 7, 2011.

Comments

  1. I find that it’s best to stick with one (or maybe two) hotel rewards programs to maximize your travel rewards. A chain like Choice or Best Western is good because they tend to have hotels in every city, whereas some of the 4 star hotel chains don’t have hotels in every city (especially smaller ones).

    That being said, some Choice hotels (and other 3 star or less chains) are dumps so you have to factor that in as well when you travel.

    right now I have Priority Club rewards at Holiday Inn’s, which I accumulate during business trips and then redeem for personal use.

  2. AngelaAtlanta says:

    Re: Marriott Rewards program. Marriott claims to have “no black out dates.” However they do have what they call “inventory control days.” The end result is the same in that you are not able to book certain hotels during holiday’s. For example, two years in a row I have tried booking over the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday in the Grand Cayman to no avail. Multiple emails and phone calls went without return for months. Today, I did finally receive a phone call from a Marriott representative explaining he was sorry for my troubles and for no one getting back to me but I am still not able to book using rewards for the dates I wanted. I understand hotels blocking certain premium dates. What I don’t accept is the lack of response and the deception on Marriott’s part. If you make the claim “no black out dates” then it should be honored. Calling it by a different name (inventory control) does not make it right Marriott. We will see how Hilton compares as I have moved all my business since January to Hilton’s. For the folks at Fairfield Inn Charlotte Gastonia, your personal service towards me and my dog has always been outstanding and greatly appreciated. Thank you. My recommendation for you as a pet friendly hotel remains.

  3. I am a member of that program … although whenever I travel for business (since my family owns the biz and we try to save as much money as possible while traveling), I tend to stay in really cheap places w/o rewards programs, like Motel 6.

    This is a good program for people who would stay in those participating hotels.

  4. robert lee says:

    i recently stayed in a choice hotel in southern mi, it was the worst time my wife and i have ever had at a hotel. first, door was broken, carpet was dirty with paper, M&M’s everywhere some stepped on, and last the bed sheets were dingy yellow
    which told me 4 star hotel chains are not always the right choice. when we asked for another room it was like pulling a tooth to the staff. i asked for my c/c to be refunded and walked out the door, i’ll stick with the ma&pa motels because to them your comfort is what they reguard as a job well done. plus at half the cost with twice the respect they are the real pros. with the $ you can save it more than
    triples the benefits you can earn with the big chains. rewards programs like these are a JOKE!

  5. walter welch says:

    We stayed at 2 comfort inns that were’nt listed for credit on my choiceprivileges
    reward list. comfort inn, Pierre , Aberdeen. SD on 4/05/2011 and comfort inn Delta, Delta .Co. on 4/01/2011

    • Jerry David says:

      I stayed at a Rodeway Inn in Lousiana a while back and the next morning at checkout I asked if they got my number for my points right as I had problems getting credit before. The manager said that I wouldn’t get any points because they only came if you paid rack rate and I had gotten too good a deal. I emailed Choice Privileges and they responded that it was entirely up to each hotel whether they give you the points. Never staid at a “Choice” hotel agaiin.

  6. rfarris says:

    Avoid Choice priveleges like the plague. Way more trouble than it’s worth. Had a Choice Priveleges cc and cancelled the service and support was terrible. Never get credit for stays and when you call they want you to fax or mail them copies of bill. Now that’s convenient.

  7. Odddlycrunchy says:

    I was hoping to get a review from an experienced person. You RECENTLY joined the program. You should really only blog about stuff you know well. Or do some research first. Please.

    Well, let’s see what we can figure out from your article… the easiest reward seems to be the $50 gift or gas card. And it takes 16000 points, which means you have to have spent $1600, to get $50. And you have to do it in 2 years. Since I usually spend around $80/night at a hotel, $1600 represents 20 nights… nope, I’ll never make it. And if rfarris is right, I’ll save myself a lot of grief. Ok, my decision is made! Thanks for blogging after all… :)

  8. some of the hotel offer it but than ignore to add up the credits till we demanded.. just insane!!!

  9. Kat Summers says:

    I became a Choice Privileges Member in 2003. My business usually has me on the road 5-9 days out of each month, which I usually try to stay within the Choice Hotel Brands. 85% of my experience with this program has been positive, the other 15% was directly the result of the individual hotel’s staff & services (lack thereof).

    I make use of every single hotel benefit available through this program and feel it is definitely worth the effort. Early check in – I’ve checked in as early as 7am on more than one occasion at no additional charge. Late check out – members are able to request check out up to two hours past the hotels check out time. Extra linens, towels and/or pillows upon request is never a problem either.
    Many choice hotels will allow members to place a reservation hold without a credit/debit card – debit cards used for reservations are often recharged and if you decide to pay cash it takes weeks for them to release the hold on your deposit. A hassle to say the least.
    Most weekdays I can get a free upgrade for a jacuzzi suite which is always a nice treat at the end of a long work day. Members will also get a cheaper rate booking directly through choice privileges as opposed to booking through the hotel.
    Since I am self employed my travel expenses come directly out of my pocket. In our current economy the reward points come in handy when I am travelin on a very meager budget or when we take the family on a quicky weekend vacation. We have saved a bundle using points for vacation lodging when otherwise we would not have been able to afford to go at all.

    To truly benefit from this or any similar program you still have to put in the time and effort to research your location before you book, as well as communicating your expectations to the hotel you are paying for. I always start with google. I search for choice hotels in my desired area and check several review sites to see if the have a lot of negative feed back. If it looks and sounds decent I then call CP to check the rates and availability of my desired timeframe, but I do not make a reservation. I then call the hotel and ask to speak to the manager. I explain to mgmt that I am a CP elite member planning to confirm a reservation via CP but first I would like to verify that my needs will be met. I then make whatever requests I need – early check in, late check out, extra towels etc. (Sometimes they will even offer to meet or beat CP’s quoted rate) once mgmt confirms that they will meet my needs I thank them politely and call CP to confirm my reservation. After I receive my confirmation number I call the hotel manager back so that they can make the necessary notations on my booking form in their computers. Since I started doing it this way I have not once walked away displeased with my stay.

    Also, upon getting into your room, if you are not satisfied immediately take your concerns to the front desk. I use my cell to video record what I am displeased over. I allow it to continue to record as I approach staff with my concerns. If the hotel does not resolve the issue I stand at the desk while I call CP to explain the issue and offer to email them a copy of my recording. This usually resolves the issue and the rest of my stay is delightful.

  10. SybilRoslyn says:

    I have had an negative experience with Choice Privileges..
    I have tried to retify the issue with lower level staff-to no avail. It seems like they could care less about retaining customers. Whom could I email in the corporate office.

  11. Michael Marcus says:

    Took my family and our friendly beagle dog to Comfort Inn & Suites Nanuet N.Y. location. Turned out to be a horror story shortly after. Wasn’t there for more than 4 hours when my dog was mauled by 2 American Terrier Pit bulls in the back returning from walking dog in the dark in the back . Thank God the area has a wonderful Hospital called Valley Cottage Hospital . Family dog required life-saving surgery and stitches to close some gruesome wounds caused by these 2 attack dogs. My helpless beagle almost killed, was saved by the doctor at this hospital. This Hotel is anything but pet friendly. Another room had a German Sheppard going nuts against the glass. Wonder which room had the lions tigers and bears. A nice pleasant getaway idea turned out to be a nightmare. The Manager yelled at me because I dared to ask for help. I was mortified and embarrassed by his treatment towards me being as well as being in shock at the time due to this incident. Manager was most unprofessional, screaming out in lobby it was my fault. Hotel is not a secure place to bring your loving pet or humans since Hotel apparently never trained management properly in dealing with crisis of this magnitude.

    I would not recommend this place for anything more than directions to another Hotel in the area. They wont even pay the life saving medical treatment medical bills for my dog nor return the points I saved up. Keep in mind people do go there who don’t have pets. Their lives are in jeopardy when you don’t screen the animals you accept or limit type of breeds you allow.

    If you look up American Terrier which I did when I came home you will see these animals are by design breaded to fight. What parent allows small children to pet an American Terrier or German Sheppard without fear of being mauled? If you have children be careful the back doors aren’t secure and can be opened by accident from the outside as well as not closed properly to begin with. The lighting at night is almost non existent. No room numbers to indicate which room it is. All factors when making a decision which hotel has the consumers best interest in mind.

    To wrap up this disaster Hotel says its pet friendly and since they don’t care what kind of animals they take in I would agree . However that’s makes it no human friendly. Be on your guard at all times because you never know when a dog or multiple dogs will escape and try to maul your dog, an adult or unfortunately one of your precious children. To add insult to injury they wont accept financial responsibility for their negligence. Remember dogs are like people and sometimes react differently under fear .

    There is an expression , caveat emptor means buyer beware. It most certainly applies to this Hotel.

    Good Luck

  12. “Stay two separate times. Earn one night FREE* at over 1,500 hotels.
    •Register now to earn unlimited free nights during the promotion
    •Book at ChoiceHotels.com or 800.4CHOICE and after your second stay with arrival between March 8 and May 8, 2012 you’ll receive enough Choice Privileges® points to redeem for a FREE night at over 1,500 hotels”

    Dear Peggy,
    It doesn’t mention it has to be the same freaking hotel in order to get the free night. It says OVER 1,500 hotels…
    So PEGGY (from the TV commercial) told me in the phone “NOT ENOUGH POINTS!!! SORRY!!!

    I have to stay in LA every other weekend until September. It is not that I need the free night but it does help. What it upset me is that they think people is stupid with this crappy programs. SAY IT SO since the begining it has to be the same stupid hotel.

    You just lost another client to B.W.

    THANKS FOR NOTHING PEGGY. Keep your stupid points

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  14. joe robinson says:

    unbelievable, this program is designed to fleece the customer while offering total dumps… We joined interested in the buy 2, get-one-free, and after 6 nights at seeminlgy inflated prices, we finaly got a free night when we complained. We were told we were getting a $150 room… The room is so bad it’s laughable – as long as we don’t get some sort of infection or mishaps with bugs… So happy to leave this program and boycott all these hotels in this ripoff program.

  15. have used choice privileges hotels for about four years with good results.Recently made a trip to Montana,Wyoming, and Idaho and found that Comfort Inns are no as good as they were a few years ago.In Billings found food in frige from last guest,coffee pot still had grounds in it,used towel hanging on back of door in bath.The bed did look like it was changed but still over all the room felt dirty. The Comfort Inn just outside north entrance to Yellowstone way over priced for what they had to offer $180.00 a night not impressed at all.

  16. Paul Coorlim says:

    Terrible to returning customers !! I have called and called and they will not resolve the issue of some staff member entering my email wrong, Therefor I can never receive my free nights or redeem points I have earned.
    Since I stay in hotels 10 out of 30 nights per month I will now continue with wyndham rewards, and drop this joke service which is only interested in customers who apply for their credit card. With customer service like they provide, taking credit from this company is also not advised. I honestly dont even think half of them speak english
    (or understand it anyway) I have called several times and received no help.

  17. Bob Evans says:

    What a rip off The ad says stay two nights, get one free. In fine print they say you get 8000 points. Good luck at finding a hotel for 8000 points

  18. Liz Turner says:

    The Choice Privileges program (Choice Hotels) is a joke. There is major incompetence in the program and you have to jump through hoops and do a lot of legwork to prove to them that you are deserving of credits for your stay. Apparently, staying and paying the bill isn’t sufficient evidence for them that you weren’t a “no show.” I’m forfeiting the points I currently have and moving on to another hotel chain program. It’s not as though the chain’s quality is consistent — really a toss of the dice — so I won’t be staying in another Choice Hotel again.

  19. I agree with Liz–The Choice Privileges program is a joke. Went on a vacation and stayed in a number of Choice hotels hoping to build up rewards points. When my stays didn’t appear on my rewards statement, I inquired and was told I was given airline reward miles instead. Didn’t want or sign up for airline miles. They refused to fix their error. I quit their program. They expect your loyalty and $, but don’t expect their help. Won’t be staying in their hotels again. I would avoid this rewards program unless you like frustration.

  20. I have to disagree with most of the negative opinions as far as the program being worthless goes. I do understand your personal experiences are listed as well and I’m not referring to those who were in crap hotel rooms or had poor customer service.

    As far as sending a copy of the bill to get your reward points goes, when they have not auto.listed on the site, that’s no biggie. Now you can just email customer service. Previously sending a copy of the bill may have seemed like a pain but if you were in a brick and mortar store you’d likely need your receipt to rectify any billing issues, correct? Same thing. My points didn’t post recently and I noticed months later. I contacted customer service via the email on their help page and within 48 hours I had a response and the correct amount of points posted. To avoid this issue in the future print out your CP card and present it at the check-in desk. Just ask “Do you need to see this for my points?”. You’ll likely be told points are automatic but now you know you’ve reminded the employee. It does state on the CP page that you should have your card with you.

    I’ve been a member since 2010 and enjoy the program. If you’re unsure whether your hotel will be a “dump” or not just do a little research. You can start by reading the reviews by verified customers on choice hotels’ website but to get to the real good stuff visit trip advisor. If the hotel has a badge of excellent for the previous year you should be in good shape. If there are lots of positive reviews, like 75 out of 100 or 600 out of 780, just filter to the poor reviews and see if those were left in regards to cleanliness, bed bugs, rude staff ect…
    If you’re unsure or see a previous complaint that has you worried but lots of positive remarks then send the hotel a friendly email and inquire about the specific issue. I did this for a Toronto hotel that seemed nice but had a complaint about bed bugs. I was friendly, the manager was very friendly back and gave me the information on how the bed bugs were handled, when and assured me the hotel was “clean” now. I booked, I stayed and had no issues.
    Just do a little investigating it only takes about 5-10 minutes per hotel.

    Some hotels have lower points needed to redeem which doesn’t make them a “dump”. It’s more likely the hotel is far from the city center or outside of the area you specified city. Remember that an airport location hotel may need the least points for redemption but if it’s 10 miles or more away from your destination(like a museum or sports game) in city traffic that might be 30-60 minutes of driving. Just be careful!
    On top of that if you only have enough points to redeem a free night for the cheapest hotel but you prefer a different one just buy some points to top off the account. Need 2,000 more? That’ll cost you $22 at current prices and that’s much cheaper than booking a whole nother room/hotel at full or prepaid prices.

    Good Luck.

  21. I just read this fall’s special rate program: stay two different
    nights and your free hotel room points are 5,000 to 8,000 and not
    the usual 8,000 points received in earlier programs.

    I am looking for a new hotel member privilege program, as
    theirs now suck.

    Regards,

    Rita

  22. The Choice Privileges special promotion running from September to November 2014 is misleading at best, dishonest the way I look at it. Here are the facts:

    1. I stayed at this hotel 2 consecutive Wednesday nights.

    2. I tried to collect on their offer for a “free” night and was denied because I didn’t have enough “points”.

    3. I called Choice Privileges customer service and was told that the 2 trips to that hotel didn’t earn me enough points to stay at that very same hotel free,

    4. I asked to speak to a supervisor and when she came on the line she was very rude. She said, basically that I should read the rules on the website.

    5. I asked that my membership be cancelled and will never stay at a Choice Hotel unless there’s nowhere else to stay.

    If anyone sees or hears an advertisement that says the hotel you stay at the third night might not be the same hotel you stayed at the two previous visits, please contact me at jwileyjr1108@gmail.com. This promotion is extremely misleading and as far as I’m concerned very dishonest.

    Thanks,
    John Wiley

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